What would happen if we did nothing to slow the spread of CWD?
A simulation model suggests that, if left unmanaged, CWD will spread throughout Wisconsin and the prevalence will increase to at least 40% of adult deer being infected. These research results are mirrored by current data in Colorado and Wyoming, where in some areas average prevalence is over 40% across thousands of square miles, suggesting the disease continues to spread widely across the landscape.
Modeling research also suggests that an increase of CWD prevalence in Wisconsin's deer herd will cause a moderate to substantial long-term reduction in the harvestable surplus in the deer population. Researchers in Wyoming are seeing indications that CWD may be reducing both the age structure and overall populations in some of the highest CWD prevalence areas. If these indications are correct, ultimately, such declines in Wisconsin would have significant negative impacts on deer hunting and the state’s economy.